Stocks to Watch, Oct. 31: Merck and Eastman Kodak

Published October 30, 2006

| MarketWatch

Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Tuesday's session are Merck & Co. Inc., Rackable Systems Inc. and Eastman Kodak Co.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) is expected to report first-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share, according to analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

Biogen Idec (BIIB) is expected to post per-share earnings of 49 cents in the third quarter.

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Eastman Kodak (EK) is expected to post third-quarter earnings of 19 cents a share.

Hilton Hotels Corp. (HLT) is expected to report third-quarter per-share earnings of 28 cents.

Loews Corp. (LTR) is expected to post third-quarter earnings of 85 cents a share.

Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO) is expected to report third-quarter per-share earnings of $3.63.

McKesson Corp. (MCK) is expected to post second-quarter earnings of 58 cents a share.

Molson Coors Brewing Co. (TAP) is expected to report per-share earnings of $1.44 in the third quarter.

Rowan Cos. (RDC) is expected to report third-quarter earnings of 88 cents a share.

Safeco Corp. (SAFC) is expected to post earnings of $1.52 a share in the third quarter.

Merck (MRK) has agreed to pay $13 a share in cash, or $1.1 billion, to buy Sirna Therapeutics Inc.

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Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) said its employer services unit has signed a definitive agreement to buy Taxware LP from First Data Corp. for about $125 million in cash. Taxware focuses on global commercial tax compliance systems.

Alpharma Inc. (ALO) reported third-quarter net earnings of $17 million, or 31 cents a share, compared with $17.8 million, for 34 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The company reaffirmed its previous 2006 outlook of per-share earnings from continuing operations of $1.25 to $1.35.

Carrier Access Corp. (CACS) said its third-quarter net loss widened to $5.45 million, or 16 cents a share, from $837,000, or 2 cents a share, in the same period last year, as sales fell and expenses rose. Excluding items, the per-share loss was 13 cents.

Chemtura Corp. (CEM) said it now expects its third-quarter and second-half earnings will be "substantially below" prior expectations despite aggressive actions by the company to reshape its portfolio and strengthen businesses. The company said the revised outlook was also due to the longer-than-expected lag between volume recapture and margin recovery, among other factors.

Choice Hotels (CHH) said its third-quarter profit jumped 43 percent to $46.4 million, or 69 cents a share, up from $32.4 million, or 48 cents a year ago. On an adjusted basis, Choice said it would have earned 50 cents a share, up from 43 cents.

EOG Resources Inc. (EOG) said third-quarter net earnings fell to $299.1 million from $343.8 million in the same period last year as expenses rose. The company posted net income available to shareholders of $297.3 million, or $1.21 a share, compared with $341.9 million, or $1.40 a share, last year.

General Cable Corp. (BGC) reported third-quarter net earnings of $37.1 million, or 71 cents a share, compared with $4.2 million, or 7 cents a share, during the year-ago period. The company posted revenue of $948.4 million vs. $600.5 million.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) said it would waive all remaining conditions involved with its $4.5 billion acquisition of Mercury Interactive Corp.

Intuit Inc. (INTU) said the Securities and Exchange Commission has finished its investigation on the company's stock option granting practices. The agency will not recommend any enforcement action, the company added.

Navarre Corp. (NAVR) reported fiscal second-quarter net earnings of $1.61 million, or 4 cents a share. In the same quarter last year, the company posted a net loss of $75,000, or breakeven a share. Excluding items, the Navarre reported a profit of $3.8 million, or 11 cents a share.

MetLife Inc. (MET) said third-quarter net income came in at $1.03 billion, up 34 percent from a year earlier, when the giant life insurance and annuity company made $773 million. Net income available to common shareholders was $1.29 a share vs. 97 cents a share a year earlier, the company reported.

NovAtel Inc. (NGPS) reported third-quarter net income of C$5.6 million ($5 million) or 63 Canadian cents a share, compared with C$3.2 million or 36 Canadian cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue rose to C$19 million from C$14.3 million.

Principal Financial Group (PFG) said third-quarter net income came in at $259.2 million, up 18 percent from a year earlier when the 401K specialist made $219.4 million. Net income available to common shareholders was $251 million, or 92 cents a share, compared to $210 million, or 74 cents a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2005.

Rackable (RACK) swung to a quarterly loss from a year ago, hurt by charges, as sales rose 40 percent amid demand for corporate server and technology storage products. Rackable reported a third-quarter net loss of $389,000, or 1 cent a share, due to stock-based compensation expenses and other charges related to its acquisition of Terrascale Technologies.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN) reported positive data from a Phase III clinical program to test the investigational drug Interleukin-1 Trap among patients with a rare chronic disease. The company plans to file a biologics license application with the Food and Drug Administration in the second quarter of 2007.

Rent-A-Center Inc. (RCII) reported third-quarter net earnings of $25.2 million, or 36 cents a share, compared with $11.3 million, or 15 cents a share, in the same period last year. Excluding restructuring expenses, as well as other items, per-share earnings were 51 cents vs. 35 cents last year.

RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. (RNR) said third-quarter net income came in at $259.8 million. Last year, the reinsurer reported a quarterly net loss of $278.5 million. Net income available to common shareholders was $251.1 million, or $3.48 a share, compared to a net loss attributable to common shareholders of $287.3 million, or $4.07 a share.

Retalix Ltd. (RTLX) said it now expects 2006 net income to range from a loss of $1 million to a profit of $2 million. Pro forma income for the year is now projected to range from $7 million to $10 million and revenue is expected to be between $201 million and $205 million.

Symbol Technologies Inc. (SBL) reported a third-quarter profit of $23.3 million, or 9 cents a share, up from $16.7 million, or 7 cents a share in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue rose to $458.2 million from $441.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Excluding charges and one-time items, Symbol would have earned $30.5 million, or 12 cents a share.

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